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Macau WTCR: Rob Huff gets pole for opening after last-gasp lap

Rob Huff WTCR Macau 2018

Rob Huff landed pole position for the opening World Touring Car Cup race in Macau with a sensational last-gasp lap of the Guia circuit in first qualifying.

Practice pacesetter Huff was fastest for the majority of the session in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI.

But Huff appeared to have missed out on pole when Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic driver Esteban Guerrieri beat Huff's benchmark by 0.078 seconds with the help of a tow from team-mate Yann Ehrlacher.

Huff was down in the first sector on his final lap, but was close to his personal best in sector three and he then pulled out the fastest final sector of all to clinch pole after the chequered flag had fallen.

His lap, in a time of 2m29.040s, ultimately gave him pole by a convincing 0.479s from Guerrieri, who will line up second ahead of Yvan Muller.

YMR driver Muller, who is second in the points ahead of this weekend's final three races of the WTCR season, was a further tenth behind the Argentinian in his Hyundai i30 N, having completed his fastest lap just after Guerrieri set his best time.

Guerrieri Muller WTCR Macau 2018

The pair were then involved in an incident on the run to Lisboa after their fast laps, which resulted in Muller giving Guerrieri a gentle tap into the right-hander.

Muller's nephew Ehrlacher qualified fourth in his Munnich Motorsport Civic but will start the opening race from the back of the grid owing to an engine change penalty.

First practice pacesetter Jean-Karl Vernay will therefore line up fourth in his WRT Audi RS3 LMS, ahead of Huff's SLR team-mate Mehdi Bennani.

Norbert Michelisz will start sixth, one place ahead of BRC Racing Hyundai team-mate and current points leader Gabriele Tarquini.

Frederic Vervisch (Comtoyou Audi) and title hopeful Pepe Oriola (Campos Racing Cupra) completed the qualifying top 10, with the third Munnich Motorsport Civic of Timo Scheider next up.

Andre Couto, the 2000 Macau Grand Prix winner, was again fastest of the six wildcard entrants contesting this weekend's Guia race, setting a best time of 2m34.860s in his MacPro Honda.

The session was stopped for a short while when Thed Bjork crashed his YMR Hyundai at Fisherman's bend.

Bjork, who is currently third in the drivers' standings, damaged the front-left corner of his car and was limited to 16th in qualifying as a result.

Race one qualifying

PosDriverTeamCarTimeGap
1Rob HuffSebastien Loeb RacingVolkswagen2m29.040s-
2Esteban GuerrieriMunnich MotorsportHonda2m29.519s0.479s
3Yvan MullerYMRHyundai2m29.631s0.591s
4Yann EhrlacherMunnich MotorsportHonda2m29.960s0.920s
5Jean-Karl VernayWRTAudi2m30.037s0.997s
6Mehdi BennaniSebastien Loeb RacingVolkswagen2m30.173s1.133s
7Norbert MicheliszBRC Racing TeamHyundai2m30.267s1.227s
8Gabriele TarquiniBRC Racing TeamHyundai2m30.403s1.363s
9Frederic VervischComtoyou RacingAudi2m30.672s1.632s
10Pepe OriolaCampos RacingCupra2m30.827s1.787s
11Timo ScheiderMunnich MotorsportHonda2m30.840s1.800s
12Kevin CecconTeam MulsanneAlfa Romeo2m30.931s1.891s
13John FilippiCampos RacingCupra2m31.118s2.078s
14Nathanael BerthonComtoyou RacingAudi2m31.513s2.473s
15Ma Qing HuaBoutsen Ginion RacingHonda2m31.553s2.513s
16Thed BjorkYMRHyundai2m31.860s2.820s
17Mat'o HomolaDG Sport CompetitionPeugeot2m32.120s3.080s
18Gordon SheddenWRTAudi2m32.502s3.462s
19Luigi FerraraTeam MulsanneAlfa Romeo2m32.585s3.545s
20Tom CoronelBoutsen Ginion RacingHonda2m32.645s3.605s
21Aurelien ComteDG Sport CompetitionPeugeot2m32.743s3.703s
22Aurelien PanisComtoyou RacingAudi2m33.024s3.984s
23Denis DupontComtoyou RacingAudi2m33.616s4.576s
24Norbert NagyZengo MotorsportCupra2m34.798s5.758s
25Andre CoutoMacPro Racing TeamHonda2m34.860s5.820s
26Filipe SouzaChamp MotorsportAudi2m35.023s5.983s
27Kevin TseTeam Work MotorsportAudi2m35.312s6.272s
28Billy LoTian Shi Zuver TeamAudi2m35.987s6.947s
-Kam San LamChamp MotorsportAudi2m39.501s10.461s
-Rui ValentePCT Racing TeamVolkswagen2m40.930s11.890s
-Zsolt SzaboZengo MotorsportCupra2m41.228s12.188s

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